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I’m installing a walk-through closet into an empty dressing room. Moved a couple of outlets so nothing’s hidden behind anything, and everything’s accessible.

One outlet is grandfathered in under a window, but I’m putting a pullout shoe bench on that wall, and I need one more outlet in another location to run a clothes steamer. (Doesn’t pull too much power, doesn’t require a water line)

Since the pullout shoe rack and bench are going on that wall, I can’t leave a junction box there. It would technically be accessible, but not really, and not visible, so that’s not an option.

The existing box is in the middle of a run of outlets on a single circuit, and under a window, (dropping down from the attic and back up), and the wires aren’t long enough to just move it to where it needs to go, pull out the box and patch.

I can access the lines in the attic, but I’ll have to cut some wires at both ends, mark them as non-load and leave them in the wall if I don’t want to tear my wall up. It’s an exterior 3-angle bay wall, so fishing wires isn’t going to be doable with all the insulation between the studs.

Anybody have a less painful way to go about this, besides basically rewiring from one box to a new outlet location via the attic and back to the next box on the circuit? Do I need to use wire sheathing to drop a new wire down from the attic to a new outlet location along the circuit? Thanks in advance for any help making this less complicated.

Basically, the part I’m mostly looking for advice on is moving the box (which is in the middle of a circuit on an insulated exterior wall) without leaving a junction box behind or tearing up my wall.

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    Pretty sure you're going to need a cable stretcher for this one.
    – KMJ
    Jan 23, 2023 at 16:52
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    It seems like you already know any wire joining has to be in an accessible junction box. Any possibility of going down to run wires along/behind baseboard or under floor?
    – Armand
    Jan 23, 2023 at 17:04
  • Worked at an electrical installation company years back but didn’t do much with existing residential. Already laid in a new floor, but never thot abt the baseboard idea. So there’s nothing in code abt running wires down there with all those nails shooting in during baseboard install? I ask bc based on my experience during tear out, not everyone bothers to locate the studs…
    – Joe
    Jan 23, 2023 at 17:55
  • @Joe To protect mechanically I would just use small diameter EMT that would fit in there, or notch out bottoms of studs and use nailing plates to protect. The EMT would not even need to end in a box if it were only used for mechanical protection, not as "conduit". The experts here might have more caveats on that.
    – Armand
    Jan 23, 2023 at 18:50
  • Where are you on this planet @Joe, and what electrical codes are you subject to? Also, what wiring method is used for the circuit in question? Jan 24, 2023 at 1:46

2 Answers 2

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I can think of only five choices available for you:

  1. don't change the wires.
  2. change the wires by cutting through the wall.
  3. change the wires inside the wall from the attic.
  4. change the wires from the surface of the wall.
  5. hire an electrician to do #3 for you.

Since a change the wires is required, 1 is out. Since cutting through the wall face is restricted, 2 is out. Since crawling around in the attic and fishing down the studs like FreeMan suggested is not desired, 3 is out. Since a DIY solution is requested, 5 is out. 4 is the last choice left.

Surface-mount raceways are available: they consist of boxes that mount over existing outlets, where the wire to be put in the raceway is wired into existing electrical work, then running the raceways to a new location, and mounting a surface box for another outlet/light/etc.

raceway surface box

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Legrand-Wiremold-700-Series-Metal-Surface-Raceway-Starter-Electrical-Box-White-BW5/100150790

raceway channel

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Legrand-Wiremold-500-Series-10-ft-Metal-Surface-Raceway-Channel-in-Ivory-V500/100207385

Web-searching "surface mount raceway" may get you to the appropriate equipment needed. Check local code for restrictions.

Regarding the outlet behind the shoe rack, if "It would technically be accessible" means that the local authorities would not require you to move it, then leave it where it is. If the shoe rack is a cabinet, the outlet can be brought through the back of the cabinet into the cabinet interior, using a box extender, like this:

box extender for through-cabinet-back outlets

https://www.amazon.com/Arlington-BE1-5-Electrical-Outlet-Extender/dp/B00303FYHS

Check the local authority for requirements for using these things.

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    😳 Genius! Checking local authorities today on that one- thanks! If I can put the raceway in, then I can build a protected gap in the framing of the bench to incorporate the outlet into the center front of the bench. This would make a junction in the original box, but if it is still accessible via a lift-top bench seat, then as long as local code allows, I should be golden, right? #3 is an option, it’s just a slow option, and financial pressure dictates speed at the moment.
    – Joe
    Jan 24, 2023 at 18:00
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    You should just be able to put a hole in the back of the shoe rack that's slightly bigger than the cover plate, @Joe. That'll give you the access "without tools" (presuming you can get to that part of the shoe rack without further disassembly).
    – FreeMan
    Jan 24, 2023 at 19:49
  • Thanks to @Armand for putting in the correct starter box! I didn't know the plastic ones were for low-voltage only. Jan 24, 2023 at 20:01
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The existing box is in the middle of a run of outlets on a single circuit, and under a window, (dropping down from the attic and back up)

Presuming you have attic access:

  • go to the last box before this outlet you need to move
  • detach the cable that leads to this outlet
  • pull a new cable from this box and through the attic, bypassing the place where the cable drops to the no longer desired box
  • drop the new cable down the wall to the next junction box
  • wire the next junction box with the new cable

If you have room in the "before" and "after" boxes, you can leave the cable in the box with the wires capped (not clipped) in case anyone ever wants to use that box again.

If you want to permanently disable the cable, pull it out of the wall. If it's nailed in and you can't pull it, cut the cable as close as possible to the edge of the box and push it back out of the box, into the wall. With BOTH ends of the cable cut and no possibility of power getting into the wire, this is safe to do. If either end were to remain connected to (or remain in a box where it could be reconnected) power, this would be VERY unsafe to do.

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  • 👍🏻 That is the solution I’m trying to avoid. Both connecting boxes are in walls filled with insulation and wrapped with plastic, so dropping wires into them from the attic will be next to impossible, and on my stomach under a very short roof valley, so no space to move. The attic’s not floored, and full of moldy blown-in insulation, so it’s hours of laying out trying not to get a head full of nails, seeing around the hvac system, tracing random wires (the lights circuit is up there too.) Functionally it would be a lot simpler and faster to get it done from inside the room.
    – Joe
    Jan 24, 2023 at 17:02
  • I get that it may not be fun, @Joe, but it is, I believe, the most appropriate solution. Sorry...
    – FreeMan
    Jan 24, 2023 at 17:04
  • You’re right there. Additional problem then though, is after removing said box, I no longer have an outlet every 6’ along the wall. Even though it’s a bay wall of windows, I still have that requirement, correct?
    – Joe
    Jan 24, 2023 at 17:35
  • @Joe -- what edition of the National Electrical Code has your jurisdiction adopted? Jan 25, 2023 at 3:33
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    After reading through the exceptions in the State Code Requirements, it appears there was a general statute put in place within the state not allowing code to be revised on 1-2 family dwellings until 2025, so I’m going to have to read further to figure out whether I’m operating under 2017 or 2020 edition of NEC codes. I might have to just make a phone call. Back soon
    – Joe
    Jan 25, 2023 at 15:51

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